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Buffalo Promise in the News!

Check out this article in the UB Reporter for info on the Buffalo Promise! This Promise Neighborhood in Western New York is led by the Westminster Charter Community School Foundation, and includes the State University of New York at Buffalo, an institution linked in by the University’s Center for Educational Collaboration. Think that’s a lot of groups? There are so many more that have signed on to make Buffalo Promise successful.

Mara Huber, of the Center for Educational Collaboration, knows Buffalo is “rich in resources, but where we struggle is in connecting and mobilizing those resources in a way that results in change.”

That’s a tricky place to be, but Huber says that Buffalo Promise “provides us with a really exciting opportunity to work this out.”

“We’re the process people, the conduit. As the partners need things from us—faculty, staff, data—we get them.” –Mara Huber, Director, Center for Educational Collaboration

Watch them do it! Read the whole article here, and keep checking back for updates.

Website Watch: Arlington on the Move

Another edition of Website Watch takes us out of the warm south and up to Lawrence, Massachusetts, home of the Arlington Community of Excellence (ACE). This Promise Neighborhood is lead by The Community Group, and received a Planning Grant from the Department of Education to get their program up and running!

So we’re thrilled to welcome them to the web and send you their way to learn about their version of place-based change, their plans to strengthen their community, and their commitment to send kids to college. Check out their site, and then come back and tell us what you think!

The Mini Apple Looks to the Big Apple to Get in the Zone!

Northside Achievement Zone community members

Organizers are planning to wrap North Minneapolis kids in a coordinated, community-driven support system that incorporates over 60 organizations. Sound familiar? We’re glad it does! The Northside Achievement Zone aims to serve 200 families in the neighborhood of North Minneapolis using the Promise Neighborhood model, even though they didn’t get a grant from the Department of Education. They’re looking to the successful place-based work of the Harlem Children’s Zone and other neighborhoods to help chart their course.

Minnesota Public Radio did a piece on them, which is also posted on MPR’s websiteListen in and tell us what you think!

Website Watch: Southern Hospitality

Happy belated President’s Day! If you’ve been following our blog, you know we’ve been thinking a lot about our current president and his proposed FY 2012 budget. And you know we’ve been following the House vote–we’ll keep you posted on FY 2011 funding for Promise Neighborhoods.

So let’s start the week with a reminder of what the funding is for!

It's a Family Connection!

We’re sharing two great websites today to start your week off right: the Athens/Clarke County Family Connection in Georgia, and the Charleston Promise Neighborhood of South Carolina. (And for those of us shoveling snow from our sidewalks, thinking about the warmer weather in these Southern states is an added bonus!)

Athens/Clarke has a big fan you may recognize: Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Hear what he and some of his community members have to say about the Family Connection:

Whatever it Takes Athens, Georgia from Whatever It Takes on Vimeo.

The Charleston Promise site has lots of information about their great work in Charleston County, and suggests ways to get involved. Volunteer, or donate!

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They May Not Have Won the Super Bowl…

…but the Pittsburgh Steelers are winning in their community!

If you’re a student at the Pittsburgh Promise, this is what you can look forward to:

“Every ninth-grader gets invited to Heinz Field for a pep talk by Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. And because ninth grade is a make-or-break point for many students, a Promise Readiness Corps meets daily to make sure no one falls through the cracks.”‘

USA Today

Those are two great services provided by the Pittsburgh Promise, a coordinated scholarship program backed by the Pittsburgh Foundation, Pittsburgh Public Schools, community members, and other supporters, whose ranks include, it seems, the Pittburgh Steelers!

For more info on the Pittsburgh Promise, check out their website, or the Department of Education’s latest newsletter.

Tayshauna Lester, a 7th grader at Allegheny Traditional Academy in Pittsburgh, gets a hug from Tamara Davis following a mentoring session after school.

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Who Are We? Just Ask the DoE

“UNPRECEDENTED PLANNING PROCESSES” The Education Innovator, Department of Education

The Department of Education released their latest newsletter today, highlighting the astonishing and unprecedented work communities are doing to become Promise Neighborhoods. They also stressed the role of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute in assisting these communities, saying:

“Help for them is being provided by not only the Office of Innovation and Improvement and other Department of Education programs, but also from the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink, an independent, nonprofit resource offering tools, information, and strategies to communities interested in creating their own Promise Neighborhood – whether they received a federal grant or not. The Institute, which serves as a comprehensive hub for high-quality technical assistance providers and consultants, including PolicyLink, the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and Bridgespan, offers an interactive map of Promise Neighborhood allies and a discussion forum for federal grantees and non-grantees alike.”

It’s true! And in case you need a refresher, here’s our map. Want to get in on the discussions? Shoot us an email at

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Website Watch: Promise Neighborhoods Show Off New Sites

Two great Promise Neighborhoods launched websites this week, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the web!

Boys and Girls Club kids

Kids in Northern Cheyenne Nation Promise Neighborhood

The Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation Promise Neighborhood encompasses the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and the communities of Colstrip and Ashland in Montana. Their website has lots of good information on their community partners and upcoming events, so check out their website for event details and further info!

1,500 miles South, the East Side Promise Neighborhood of San Antonio is also online, with links to their partner groups, and information about how they plan to make their community  “a safe, healthy place for children to grow up and prosper.”

East Side Promise Neighborhood of San Antonio

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Bewildered by the Budget? We Can Work It Out.

Education Week has got your back if you want more info on the state of federal funding for Promise Neighborhoods and other education programs. This article highlights some of President Obama’s proposals for Fiscal Year 2012, including $150 million for Promise Neighborhoods.

It also gets into the plan proposed by the Republicans in the House of Representatives, which would eliminate funding for Promise Neighborhoods and make other big cuts throughout the Department of Education, to be effective till Fiscal Year 2011 ends on Sept 30. Ouch!

Both years’ budgets are being negotiated right now, and there’s not much agreement so far.

Confused? We don’t blame you!

Obama reins in budget, but bets big on education

Nothing will happen with the FY 2011 budget till March 4 at the earliest, which is when the current Continuing Resolution will expire. But since the House Republicans have proposed such a sharply-cut budget, it is very unlikely to be passed by both the House and the Senate. So we still probably won’t know much after March 4; be prepared for some other kind of continuance!

There is some hope in Obama’s proposed FY 2012 budget for Promise Neighborhood. Here’s the news from Education Week:

“Promise Neighborhoods, a program aimed at helping communities create comprehensive support systems modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, would get $150 million, a $140 million boost over current funding levels. And the 21st Century Community Learning Centers would get an extra $100 million, or $1.3 billion.”

That “$140 million boost” they mention is the difference between the $10 million currently available for planning grants for Promise Neighborhoods and the $150 million Obama’s asking for FY 2012. It is less than the $210 million allocated in FY 2010, but, in an otherwise tightened budget, shows Obama is keeping the focus on our communities.

We’ll keep you updated on the budget process on our Federal Policy Updates page, so stay connected and we’ll figure it out together.

What do you think of Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposal? What about the House Republicans’ plan for FY 2011? Let us know in the comments!

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Fed Gov’t Shout-Out for Promise Neighborhoods & PNI

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton gave us a shout-out yesterday in his interview with the folks at UNCA:

“The Promise Neighborhoods Institute has done some great work on partnership accountability and I’d encourage your readers to check out some of the webinars that are posted on their website.”

Shelton also praised the work of the Promise Neighborhoods, saying:

“Organizations committed to a Promise Neighborhoods approach are truly blazing the path to improving the lives and life outcomes of children and youth in distressed communities throughout our country.”

In this confusing time of federal budget negotiations, we’re pleased to see that the Promise Neighborhoods program is still a priority, and we couldn’t agree more with Shelton’s assessment of the great work the Promise Neighborhoods are doing!

Check out the full interview here.

Got questions about the federal government’s plans for Promise Neighborhoods? Check out our Federal Policy Updates page, and post additional thoughts in the comments!

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White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Budget Conference Call

The National Neighborhood Alliance will be hosting a conference call on the Administration’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative-related budget requests for federal FY 2012 this Tuesday, February 15 from 2:00-3:30 pm EST (budget is set to be released on February 14).

“Topics covered will be the president’s proposed funding for Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program, and possibly others.

Speakers will include:

  • Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs
  • Larkin Tackett, Deputy Director of Promise Neighborhoods, U.S. Department of Education
  • Thomas Abt, Chief of Staff to the Office of Justice Programs at DOJ
  • Luke Tate, Special Assistant to the Secretary at HUD
  • Possible other speakers.”

The call is open the public – to receive call-in information, contact Patrick Lester at

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